Home' Supercar Xtra : Jun Jul 2016 Issue 93 Contents 42
The series needed a leader and Cochrane broke
through the uncertainty and went public with the
relationship at the Sandown 500 in September 1996.
"A TV deal was the very first job as I knew there was
absolutely no interest from Seven to cover the cham-
Network Ten signed up to showcase the cham-
pionship series from 1997, but the Bathurst 1000
remained a sticking point. The Mount Panorama
Consortium ran the endurance classic, including the
"The first barney was with [the] Bathurst [pro-
moters], because the deal the teams got at Bathurst
was ludicrous; it really was terrible financially," says
"At Bathurst, for example, every team paid entry
fees. And it was a similar deal at every Shell [champion-
ship] round, too.
"And they didn't get paid anything to go to a Shell
round, except for some prize money that trickled down
from Shell sponsorship through CAMS, after CAMS
took out their requirements.
"So we made a real stance on Bathurst and I con-
vinced the teams we had to lock this approach in and
run with it."
The consortium would, therefore, elect to run
the Bathurst 1000 with the two-litre Super Touring
entrants, while Cochrane and TEGA ran their
V8-powered 1000 a matter of weeks later on Ten.
"They believed that the future of the Bathurst event
lay with the two-litres," reflects Cochrane.
"And so we very quickly discovered that we were
going to be put out on well and truly the outer.
"Hindsight's a 20-20 vision but I suspect what they
really had as a plan back then was that they thought
they could bring on the two-litres for the Sunday and
I think they thought they had us in such a position
that we would reluctantly agree to do a race on the
"Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for our-
selves, we dug in by running our own Bathurst two
weeks later -- and the rest, I guess you could now say,
"Somebody asked me what happens if you don't get
that deal renewed with the Bathurst 1000 consortium
and I said, well, what they've got to understand is that
Bathurst is not a sacred site.
"What I meant by that answer was that everything
was up for grabs. What some people took at the time
to mean -- and some have lived off that ever since -- was
that I was saying we were not interested in going to
Bathurst; that Bathurst didn't matter to us.
"But the intention of my response was that I was
actually using it to put the consortium on notice that
we were open to other ideas.
"It wasn't meant to be intended that we were going
to drop Bathurst, which was the great cornerstone of
touring cars at the time.
"The intention of that statement was to ruffle the
feathers and hopefully get the consortium to reach a
new agreement with us to run the Bathurst 1000 as
it was then; it wasn't a catch cry that we would leave
Bathurst completely -- as we subsequently proved the
by running our own Bathurst."
The V8s won the battle for Mount Panorama.
Television and crowd figures significantly favoured
the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore's Bathurst
In November 1996, the Australian Vee Eight Super
Car Company (AVESCO) was born, a joint venture
between involving TEGA, IMG and the Australian
Motor Sports Commission to run the series.
Cochrane and James Erskine would leave IMG to
form Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL) and buy a
significant stake in the series in February 1997.
While TEGA retained majority ownership and was
responsible for the rules and technical management of
the series, SEL focused on broadcasting rights, spon-
sorship, license and sanction agreements.
V8 Supercars was born, a catchy title to go with the
new television deal and increased exposure for the
"It was a very big challenge to get them all moving
in the same direction and understand just how big the
whole organisation could become," reflects Cochrane.
ABOVE: Two Bathurst
1000s took place in
for two-litre Super
Touring on the Seven
Network and the other
for V8-powered Ford
Falcons and Holden
evidenced by the
above images from
the 1998 events, fans
voted with their feet
and the V8-powered
Bathurst won out.
BELOW: Scan below
to watch the 1998
FAI Bathurst 1000
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